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Early failure a key to turning back the clock

Fitness among the elderly is improved by a high-resistance circuit training program with fewer but more demanding repetitions at each station.

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There can’t be many regimes where early failure is counted as a success. But, as it turns out, Edith Cowan University’s School of Exercise and Health Sciences has been working on a program where early failure leads more efficiently to the fabled fountain of youth.

“It’s beyond doubt that giving up smoking and developing cardio-vascular fitness through exercise are two of the most important things you can do to live longer and live healthier,” says Associate Professor Anthony Blazevich. “We now know that as we pass middle age we need to add strength training to the fitness training in order to maintain or improve our quality of life.”

Fitness training alone, despite improving cardio-vascular health, does very little to improve muscle and bone quality. “Your heart and your head are certainly healthier,” says Anthony, “but your muscles and bones aren’t.

“Heavy strength training, however, can transform an older person by developing muscle performance equivalent to a 20 to 30 year-old sedentary person. Resistance training will turn back the clock – it’s the closest we’ve ever got to the fountain of youth.

“The problem for anyone is being able to find the time, and maintain the motivation, to do both fitness and heavy strength training. It might take two sessions of each type of training every week to maintain peak wellness in an older person.”

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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.